Survey Tips

Surveys are a useful way to gather information. Here are some tips about using surveys:

Know your audience: Surveys can be set up to be completed online and/or by paper. Choose the format that best suits the people you are trying to reach. Using both online and paper formats may reach the largest number of people. Consider how the survey can reach both people who live in the community and those who live away from home.

Here are some things to consider as you choose your survey format:

Online Survey

Great for communicating with a large number of people at once
Targets those who are active online and have access to the internet
Free survey hosting sites (such as Google Forms) make it easy to create and share a survey
Survey hosting sites complete some of the data analysis and compiling for you
Only accessible to those who have access to and ability to navigate the internet
May get fewer responses than an in-person survey

Paper Survey

Reaches those who are less technologically savvy or have limited access to the internet
Portable – can be handed out at events or meetings
More people may respond if asked to complete all together at an event or during in-person visits
Results have to be manually compiled and analyzed
May be harder to reach a broad spectrum of people, such as those living outside of the community, or those who don’t typically attend community events/meetings

Keep it simple: The shorter the survey, the more likely people will fill it out. Keep the survey short by including only the most important information and by reducing any repetition.

Incentivize: Encourage participation by giving respondents a chance to win a draw prize.

Have a plan for the results: The most important part of administering a survey is being able to understand the results. Make sure the questions will be easy to sort through and compile the answers.

Consider the best type of questions to use:

  • Questions with multiple-choice answers (closed-ended questions) are easier to analyze than questions where respondents write their own answers (open-ended questions). It is easy to tally the answers to closed-ended questions to get an overall percentage.
  • Open-ended questions must be read individually and then categorized, which can be difficult and time consuming. However, in some cases, open-ended questions can lead to richer information.
How well can you speak the language?
– Fluently
– Somewhat fluently
– Not very well
– Know some vocabulary
– Not at all
How well can you speak the language?

FPCC has developed a number of surveys for communities to use when developing a language profile. These surveys cover topics such as language ability, attitudes towards language and interest in learning. There is even a survey for organizations. The surveys are available in Word document format so that communities can adapt the questions to meet their needs.